2012 Buick Verano

NEW YORK — If Buick is as quiet in promoting its 2012 Verano compact luxury car as the vehicle’s interior is then nobody is going to hear about it. Buick pulled out all the stops, and interior noise to create a domestic vehicle that is set to take on the vaunted Lexus IS 250 and Audi A3 sedans. A dozen noise-reducing and noise-cancelling technologies are used in more than 50 areas of Verano’s body structure for increased cabin isolation and quietness.

During a live demonstration a person with a high-powered leaf blower cranked up to full power stood beside the driver’s-side door. As the windows were closing it became less of a factor until with the windows completely closed the revving motor was barely discernible. Buick claims the extra soundproofing adds about 10 pound to the weight of the vehicle, a “weight gain” that few would find fault with.

Quietness isn’t the only virtue in the 2012 Verano. It offers one of the smoothest rides on the road. Through a series of suburban and twisty rural roads the sedan performed perfectly, affording little if any body roll and excellent road-gripping traits. It sits on 18” multi-spoke, forged alloy, polished machine face, sterling silver-finish wheels. Verano carries the modern Buick design cues introduced on the Enclave and carried through to the rest of the Buick line – LaCrosse and Regal.
Verano is powered by a 2.4L Ecotec direct injected four-cylinder engine with dual-overhead camshafts, variable valve timing and E85 capability. It’s rated at 180 horsepower and 172 pound-feet of torque. It’s mated to a six-speed automatic transmission that helps Verano deliver an estimated 31 mpg on the highway. Buick will offer a 2.0L turbo engine in the future but the 2.4L is more than adequate. Because of increased sound-deadening under the hood the high-winding noise mostly associated with four-cylinder engines is hardly noticeable.
Verano’s interior offers great seat comfort and support. It’s readily apparent that Buick used premium materials in designing it. There are rich leathers, warm woods, metallic accents and soft ambient lighting. The instrument panel blends with an integrated center stack that houses the infotainment display, climate controls and radio controls. Components within the center stack are flush-mounted and have a gap tolerance of less than 1 mm. Automatic climate control is standard as is an electronic parking brake that eliminates the extra space taken up by an emergency brake lever. A locking console armrest slides to suit the driver’s seating position. Another neat function is the heating, cooling, rear defogger and heated outside mirrors and seats (on the leather model) that are linked with the standard remote start feature.
Front seat dimensions are really roomy with legroom of 42”. However, rear-seat legroom can run anywhere from non-existent to grudgingly acceptable, depending on how far the front seat is slid back. Except for maybe small children (or even pets), think of Verano as a personal four-door coupe with a lot of rear seat storage (in addition to its cargo volume of 15.2 cubic feet).
Technophiles have been accommodated as well. Standard is an all-new Buick IntelliLink system using Bluetooth or USB to connect a driver’s smartphone to the touch-screen display radio. It expands Buick’s current Bluetooth and USB capabilities to allow smartphone control via voice activation and steering wheel-mounted controls. It also enables streaming stereo audio from the phone through services like PANDORA Internet radio and Stitcher SmartRadio. (Full functionality requires a compatible Smartphone and data plan rates apply.) In addition to Buick’s IntelliLink, a nine-speaker Bose sound system specifically engineered for the Verano’s interior is available on all three trim levels.
Safety and crash avoidance features are plentiful. Included are ten standard air bags, collapsible pedal system, StabiliTrak, power-assisted four-wheel disc brakes, four-channel anti-lock braking, front and rear passenger headrests and GM’s OnStar, the leading provider of in-vehicle safety, security and information services in the U.S. and Canada (with six months of complimentary OnStar Directions and Connections service with turn-by-turn navigation).
The all-new 2012 Buick Verano also has something else going for it; cost. When it goes on sale later this year it will have a starting price of $23,470 (including $885 in destination charges). The MSRP for the top trim level is $26,850 – also including destination charges.
Once considered the stopping off point for transportation to the next life, Buick has been appealing to much-younger buyers with the introduction of each new vehicle in its stable. Verano is the third all-new vehicle in the past three years and the first in the compact segment and is based off the Chevrolet Cruze.
— Al Vinikour